There are many benefits:
- There are lots of sound and attractive old public buildings, many listed, that do not have an obvious viable use, and town halls are a prime example.
- Most of these are in the hands of local authorities, and the evidence suggests that many local authorities are not fit and proper organisations to be in charge of nice old buildings.
- Most new hotels look awful - it is the building type least likely to generate good new architecture (competing for the title with student housing, but that is the building type most likely to generate bad new architecture, not quite the same thing). So putting a hotel in an old building is probably to be preferred.
- The old town halls are in town centres where hotels should be - whereas the default option for operators is to stick them on the ring road.
- As a building type, a hotel is as much a public building as a private one; and hotels are likely to be able to make use of the grand public spaces found in town halls from the days when they built proper ones.
More please - there's only so many Wetherspoons that a city can take.